Effects of weaning cereals with different phytate contents on hemoglobin, iron stores, and serum zinc: A randomized intervention in infants from 6 to 12 mo of age

Torbjörn Lind, Bo Lönnerdal, Lars Åke Persson, Hans Stenlund, Catharina Tennefors, Olle Hernell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Weaning foods frequently contain phytate, an inhibitor of iron and zinc absorption, which may contribute to the high prevalence of iron and zinc deficiency seen in infancy. Objective: The objective was to investigate whether either an extensive reduction in the phytate content of infant cereals or the use of milk-based, iron-fortified infant formula would improve iron and zinc status in infants. Design: In a double-blind design, infants (n = 300) were randomly assigned to 3 cereal groups from 6 to 12 mo of age: commercial milk-based cereal drink (MCD) and porridge (CC group), phytate-reduced MCD and phytate-reduced porridge (PR group), or milk-based infant formula and porridge with the usual phytate content (IF group). Venous blood samples were collected at 6 and 12 mo. Dietary intake was recorded monthly. After the intervention, 267 infants remained in the analysis. Results: Hemoglobin concentrations of < 110 g/L, serum ferritin concentrations of < 12 μg/L, and serum zinc concentrations of < 10.7 μmol/L had overall prevalences at baseline and 12 mo of 28% and 15%, 9% and 18%, and 22% and 27%, respectively. After the intervention, there were no significant differences in any measure of iron or zinc status between the CC and the PR groups. However, hemoglobin was significantly higher (120 g/L compared with 117 g/L; P = 0.012) and the prevalence of anemia was lower (13% compared with 23%; P = 0.06) in the PR group than in the IF group, which could be explained by differences in daily iron intake between the 2 groups. Conclusion: Extensive reduction in the phytate content of weaning cereals had little long-term effect on the iron and zinc status of Swedish infants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-175
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Volume78
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2003

Keywords

  • Cereals
  • Infants
  • Iron
  • Phytate
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Sweden
  • Weaning
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science

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